A forgettable 2012 is now behind RCR and they are preparing to make 2013 a better year. One win last year wasn’t a typical statistic for RCR in a single season. Kevin Harvick had the most success on the team with a win and a Chase birth but, RCR will be losing their best driver in Harvick at the season’s end. Will it be a smart move for RCR letting their best driver go after 2013? No but, team-owner Richard Childress believes he has young talent in his two grandsons moving up through the ranks of NASCAR. 2013 will surely be interesting at RCR.
Menard had one of his best seasons last year even though he didn’t visit victory lane. Menard was consistent and had good finishes which allowed him to remain within the top twenty in points. The big question for Menard heading into the new season will be, can Menard handle the new car and stay competitive? It will be awhile before we find out whether or not Menard can keep up with the pace he set last season but, ultimately, it will come down to consistency for Menard.
My Prediction- Menard has a really off season and can’t find the consistency he needs to have success. Menard will struggle to finish races inside the top 15 and he will not visit victory lane. 2013 will be a hard year for Menard and a self evaluation may be needed in the near future.
2013 will be one hard year to keep a secret that really isn’t a secret anymore for Kevin Harvick. It is all but spoken out of Harvick’s mouth that he will depart from RCR at the end of 2013 and move over to Stewart-Hass Racing. This news first arose late last season and hasn’t been let down since. Why Harvick and Stewart would take the risk of letting this go out into the media a full-year before it will be in effect, is beyond me. Not concentrating on it for at least until 2013 would have been the right move to make. The constant questioning of Harvick about this could cause some on track issues and it may affect Harvick’s ability to go after the championship this season.
Harvick has been one of the most consistent drivers in the past few years and in 2013, that consistency will need to return if Harvick wants to be successful. A win or two is a realistic prediction for Harvick this season since he is basically one foot out of the door at RCR. The Chase could be a close call for Harvick if he lets the distraction about next year get in his way. This will be one of the more interesting seasons of Harvick’s career and the way he goes about it, will reveal something about his character.
My Prediction- The distraction regarding his 2014 plans will get in Harvick’s way and it will be obvious. Poor, inconsistent finishes will plague Harvick throughout the season and he won’t make this year’s Chase. This move to SHR next season better work out for Harvick or his career may start going downhill. 2013 will be real interesting for Harvick and his No.29 team.
The past few seasons have been awful for Jeff Burton. Bad finishes have hurt his chance of success. Every now and then, we see a career resurgence from Burton and 2013 may be the year of his next resurgence. Burton is always great with handling change and the new car this year will issue Burton a challenge and he may accept the challenge and become mighty successful. If Burton can forget the past few seasons’s struggles and concentrate on making 2013 better than ever, he will be very dangerous this season.
My Prediction- Likely the boldest prediction I have made for the upcoming season involves Burton. I believe Burton will make the Chase. The new car will be greatly understood by Burton and his team which will give them a leg up in the season. Burton will be very successful this year and will have a chance at a championship once the Chase arrives.
RCR may become one of the most interesting teams of 2013. With Harvick basically out the door, Menard trying to keep up his success and Burton looking for a career resurgence, RCR has some interesting characters heading into this season. Wins will be an indicator of success for RCR this season and if wins come, maybe more success will follow. Keep an eye on RCR throughout the season because the intensity may pick up at anytime during the season.
By Jason Schultz